In diane101’s diary ?What isPurpose of Political Forums and Blogs??, she expressed her concern

. . . that we are wasting away the time when perhaps we could be actually doing something, become a force of change.

In a comment, I wondered why I’ve seen no interest in Democracy Fest 2005:

Kos and Jerome Armstrong will be leading a workshop on alternative media. Jeffrey Feldman one on framing. Howard Dean will be there. Two days of how-to workshops, amazing opportunities for networking. 700 people from 30 states and 3 foreign countries have registered . . . .

and Nanette replied to me

Sometimes people need to just take small steps at first, or settle into a zone that suits them and then they are able to utilize the skills that they have to make a difference.

Which got me to thinking – maybe one thing a blog like BooTrib can do is to help each other take those first small steps out into the world of political action. This is never going to be for everyone – there is lots to do and “getting out there” is only part of it. But I think a lot of people who spend time with the blogs can do this – but they don’t know how. Or they’re shy. Or they think they don’t have anything to contribute. Except for the terminally gregarious, it can be hard. Perhaps by sharing our stories of how we got started, and by keeping each other posted on our progress, more of us will find a way to dare to venture “into the real world.”

So I’ll start.

As a Texan, GWB terrified me from Day One of his first so-called “election.” I’d seen what he’d done to my state, and now he threatened to do it to our country. But of course, I had no idea just how  bad it would be. Like many of us, in those last few months before the last election, I felt like I had to do something to get him out of power. But I have no political experience. Totally clueless neophyte. But I had to do something.

I went to a Democratic party meeting at a local pub. They were swearing in volunteer voter registrars so I filled out the form and raised my right hand. I think I registered 11 voters. I picked up, paid for (no money from the DNC for this deep red state – “swing state strategy,” – remember?) and distributed about 20 Kerry-Edwards yard signs. I went by the county Dem office to pick up signs and found it closed. Turns out, they went to a meeting every Friday and locked the office for the afternoon. This seemed like a Very Bad Idea to me, so I talked them into letting me sit at the front desk and answer the phone while they were at their Friday meetings,

Glen Maxey, who was heading up the coordinated campaign, sent out an email that they needed more registration forms Xerox’ed. I went to the local copy shop, made 50 copies and took them to his office. Introduced myself to Glen. Asked if there was anything else I could do. Stayed for a couple of hours to fold up little boxes to put them in.

Went to my first MoveOn house party. This was very hard for me. I went alone. I had to practically force myself to get in the car, drive to a complete stranger’s house, and walk into it. Didn’t know a soul there. But it wasn’t so bad. I survived. Went to a couple more house parties. Went to a Democracy for Texas (our DFA) meeting. Spoke to Glen again. By now I’m starting to see familiar faces. Sat at a table with a couple of those familiar faces and got to know them a little better. Saw them again at the Peace March a few weeks ago.

Went to a meeting of our neighborhood Dem group (SouthWest Austin Democrats) – it was the endorsement meeting for the city council race next month. I sat next to a woman who introduced herself by saying, “Didn’t I see you at the Peace March?” Got to know something about our city council candidates. For one place, there’s a candidate that will probably win – he’s experienced, solid environmentalist track record. But another candidate intrigued me – he’s young, this is his first race. It made me think of Christine Cegelis’ diary on dKos You have to run twice. I hung around a bit to talk to him.

Another DFT meeting tonight. Same city council candidates. Talked to the young guy again. Told him I hoped he’d stick with local politics and try again even if he doesn’t win this time. He’s already planning his next race – if he doesn’t win this one – against a guy who really needs to go. And oh by the way, I asked him, do you know how you go about serving on one of the city boards or commissions? (I’d heard that there are always vacancies.) He said, well, you know someone who knows someone, Send me an email, I’ll see what I can do. Who knows? Maybe that’s my next “step.”

My point is – if you want to venture out into the real world, just make yourself get out there, one step at time. Eventually, those “familiar faces” will make it easier each time. And let us know how it’s going.

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